Tag Archives: polychlorinated biphenyls

Solving an Evolutionary Puzzle

New Bedford Harbor pollution prompts PCB-resistance in Atlantic killifish

For four decades, waste from nearby manufacturing plants flowed into the waters of New Bedford Harbor—an 18,000-acre estuary and busy seaport. The harbor, which is contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and heavy metals, is one of the EPA’s largest Superfund cleanup sites.

It’s also the site of an evolutionary puzzle that researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and their colleagues have been working to solve. (more…)

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USGS Finds No Influence of Oil Platforms on Contaminant Levels in California Fishes

Fishes residing near oil platforms in southern California have similar contaminant levels as fishes in nearby natural sites, according to two recent reports by the U.S. Geological Survey, which were conducted to assist the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) in understanding potential consequences of offshore energy development.

Since the underwater portion of many offshore oil and gas platforms often provides habitat to a large number of fishes and invertebrates, some stakeholders have called for ocean managers to consider a “rigs-to-reefs” option during the decommissioning phase of a platform. This option would maintain some of the submerged structure to function as an artificial reef after oil and gas production has ended. The findings of this study address questions regarding how the industrial legacy of this kind of artificial reef may affect local fish populations. (more…)

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Women 16–49 at Risk of Multiple Pollutants

In a new analysis of thousands of U.S. women of childbearing age, Brown University researchers found that most exceeded the median blood level for two or more of three environmental pollutants that could harm brain development of fetuses and babies: lead, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Nearly 23 percent of American women of childbearing age met or exceeded the median blood levels for all three environmental chemical pollutants — lead, mercury, and PCBs — tracked in an analysis of data on thousands of women by Brown University researchers. All but 17.3 percent of the women aged 16 to 49 were at or above the median blood level for one or more of these chemicals, which are passed to fetuses through the placenta and to babies through breast milk. (more…)

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Pollution Triggers Genetic Resistance Mechanism in a Coastal Fish

For 30 years, two General Electric facilities released about 1.3 million pounds of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) into New York’s Hudson River, devastating and contaminating fish populations. Some 50 years later, one type of fish—the Atlantic tomcod—has not only survived but appears to be thriving in the hostile Hudson environment.

Researchers from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have joined colleagues from New York University (NYU) and NOAA to investigate this phenomenon and report that the tomcod living in the Hudson River have undergone a rapid evolutionary change in developing a genetic resistance to PCBs. (more…)

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Soil pollution from PCBs

These are compounds that were produced as industrial chemicals (man-made organic compounds, synthetic) and used in lubricating oils, paints, in carbonless copy paper (non-carbon copy paper – an alternative to carbon paper), in electrical insulators and in many other industrial and commercial products.

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